Tommyjournal FAQ      last updated 14 August 2019

Why are you keeping an online journal?
Writing is good for you. Know thyself. Putting your thoughts out for public consumption can be a sobering experience.

Does that mean your motive is wholly selfish?
No. I'm just not making any promises, nor encouraging any expectations. That way, any value that readers find is a bonus.
Note also that Tommyjournal is a way of not bothering my friends with emails that say "check this out". If I come across things on the web that I want to call to people's attention, I'd rather do it on Tommyjournal (which people read when they feel like it) than by email.

Aren't lots of online journals boring and self-indulgent?

Do you track me?
I get the usual Apache logs of HTML accesses but those logs are not mined nor shared with others. Tommyjournal doesn't use cookies nor any similar methods that facilitate what's usually understood as "tracking".

Can I link to your journal entries?
But of course. From November 2004 onward, each entry's date is a link with a stable URL for that entry; please link to that (if appropriate) rather than to the main Tommyjournal page.

Can I hotlink to your images?
I'd rather you didn't. Please ask me for permission to make copies for your own site instead; I'm easy.
If you do hotlink to my image files, be aware that their content may change or be removed. You have been warned.

How do you make money on this?
I don't. No ads, no soliciting donations, no tracking, no cookies. Some images reproduced here are subject to licenses that only allow noncommercial use and I honor their terms. Commerce isn't inherently bad but there is more to life than commerce.

How is the journal organized?
Entries are in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top). Before August 2009, all of the current month and the previous month's entries were on the main page; now it's some arbitrary number of entries. All previous months are archived, accessible by links on the main page. Reader comments are organized the opposite way (earliest comments first).

Why do your RSS and Atom feeds only give the date and title for each entry (i.e., no content)?
Two reasons. I prefer that each entry's appearance be predictable (a specific width, stylesheet, and so on); if the feeds included content, I couldn't control how entries were rendered by other viewers. And... it was less work to set up the simple feeds. =)

How come the page layout is completely screwed up?
Your browser doesn't support JavaScript or you have it disabled.

Why does such-and-such page look ugly?
I code simple HTML that should be easy to render but some browsers just do ugly things. Sometimes it's easy for me to work around browser quirks but I have to know there's a problem in order to fix it. Please feel free to let me know if a Tommyjournal page doesn't render well.
That said, my focus is on how these pages look on decent-sized displays. Tommyjournal can be read on a mobile phone but that's not a medium I'm aiming for.

Why are there a number of entries timestamped 23:59?
If I work on writing an entry until shortly after midnight, I usually assign it a time stamp the last minute of the day before. Feel free to deem this cheating.

What does YAJEAAD mean?
Yet another journal entry about a dream. Like many a programmer, I'm prone to using yet another constructions.

Are there any Easter eggs?
Most images are titled; holding the cursor still over an image will show the title (in most browsers).
Each entry (from 2007 onward) is titled; titles are included in the RSS and Atom feeds, and are also displayable by holding the cursor over the first word in the entry's header (i.e., the day of the week).
There may or may not be additional Easter eggs, including but not limited to occasional comments in the HTML source.

Why did you send me spam?
I didn't. Spammers occasionally impersonate me; that is, they send spam email with return addresses that use my domain name ( I wish this didn't happen but there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Can I customize the look at all?
The code doesn't specify a font style for the body text, thus whatever preference you set in your browser should work. Tommyjournal used to support various color and style tweaks adjustable with parameters in the URL but they are gone as of August 2015.


What HTML tags does your comment system support?

So far, <B>, <I>, <BLOCKQUOTE>, and <A HREF="url">, (upper or lower case) and the respective closing tags (</B>, </I>, ...). The code that recognizes <A HREF="url"> is primitive but is likely to work if you stick to that syntax. The preview button is your friend.

Why do I have to type a word for verification?
I was getting deluged with spam comments before I added that hurdle.

Why is your verification word so legible (most are hard to read)?
Legible words are less ugly, don't you think? I can get away with easily‑OCRed words because industrial‑strength spam only gets directed at platforms that host tons of blogs. Nobody tries that hard to spam a one‑off system on a trifle of a blog like this one. Not yet, anyway.

Why did you write your own code to handle comments instead of using Disqus or something?
I prefer that my pages don't depend on other servers and I like the response time to be short.

How come your comment system doesn't remember my name?
Tommyjournal doesn't use cookies--which keeps things simple.

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